Eric Hall
Biology, Ecology, Forestry and Agriculture
Material Type:
Unit of Study
High School
Agriculture, Antimicrobial, Biology, Science Education
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
Media Formats:
Downloadable docs

Education Standards (2)

What Can We Do?

What Can We Do?


The information, activities and assessments included in these curriculum modules aim to tell a story. This storyline will help students learn the basics of how populations of bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, and how that knowledge can help make sense of the phenomenon presented. Students will learn that local conditions and actions can have a significant impact on global issues. The activities with which students will engage constitute a meaningful pathway to understanding and are not intended to be used in isolation. As you make plans for how these modules will be used, carefully consider the connections and interdependence of the activities, which make it difficult to separate the activities and is not advised.

Each module consists of two or three activities. Each activity provides opportunities to develop and use specific elements of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering skills and practice(s) to make sense of phenomena and/or to design solutions to problems. They also provide students with the chance to use conceptual understanding that spans scientific disciplines and develop deep understanding of core ideas and content.

Antimicrobial Resistance in Agriculture and Beyond

Dr Michelle Soupir, a researcher at Iowa State University, is concerned about the health of our environment. Since beginning her work at ISU in 2008, she and those working in her lab have studied a variety of aspects of local watersheds and water quality. The Soupir lab has a passion for learning about what threats to our water bodies exist, and what we can do to mitigate potentially harmful situations.

Some of their studies focus on the use of innovative strategies to remove nitrates from field runoff water. These investigations often employ the use of ‘woodchip bioreactors’ to house nitrogen-removing bacteria that lower nitrate levels prior to the runoff joining other bodies of water. While these experiments make use of ‘helpful’ bacteria, the Soupir lab is also studying the presence of potentially harmful bacteria in our local watersheds.

The concern is around the potential presence of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria in these areas, including livestock systems. Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are those with genetic variations which render them “resistant” to the use of antibiotics.